If you’re a native of North Dakota or have lived there at least six months and are coping with onerous student loans, the state-owned bank of North Dakota has a great DEAL for you. The recently launched DEAL One Loan program offers very competitive interest rates and absolutely no fees. Today we’ll take a quick look at the advantages of this program and how it’s helping North Dakota student loan debtors.
Student loan debt in North Dakota has risen dramatically in recent years. According to the Project on Student Debt, in 2008, North Dakota students borrowed an average $20,625 and this increased 7% in 2009. By 2011, the average student loan debt had risen to a whopping $27,425 (the last year reported) – a staggering 33% increase. 83% of North Dakota graduates come out of school with debt, which makes them one of the highest ranking states for educational debt.
Over the last decade, the cost to attend a public university in North Dakota has risen 61% and more increases are on the way for next year ranging between 3.2% up to more than 7%. But North Dakota is still a comparative bargain to schools in other US states.
Larry Skogen, Chancellor of the North Dakota University System, has run a month-long study on student loans in the state to try and figure out why debt is outpacing tuition growth and is now analyzing the results. Skogen says, “This is a national crisis. Student loan debt right now has surpassed credit card debt in the United States, so this is a national phenomenon.”
As a result of rising student debts in North Dakota, the state-owned bank has developed a refinance program it hopes will help some grads make their student loans more manageable. DEAL One loans are offered to credit-worthy US citizens that have lived in the state for at least six months and that are out of school. If the credit is a question mark, a cosigner may be required. Cosigner release is available after 48 months of full, consecutive, on-time payments.
Bank of North Dakota offers DEAL One loans that refinance into one loan any combination of federal, private, and alternative student loans from other lenders. Rates available are either fixed or variable. Fixed interest rates are currently 5.34% and variable rates are currently set at 1.73%. Fixed rates remain the same throughout the life of the loan. Variable rates may change every three months but will never increase more than 1% in a single year and will cap at 10%.
Federal student loan interest is currently at 3.86% but just a few months ago it was 6.8%. Those that borrowed when interest rates were higher could benefit from a DEAL One refinance. It must be noted, as with any private refinance, that certain benefits that come with federal loans will be lost including income driven repayment options, loan forgiveness after 20-25 years under IBR or PAYE and forbearance and deferment. To apply for a DEAL One finance loan, click here.
To keep track of your student loans, no matter how many you have or whether they are federal or private, sign up for Tuition.io’s free student loan tool now. You can track your progress to payoff and see how changing repayment plans or making additional payments will affect your interest paid and payoff date. For more information on refinance and consolidation, check out our Student Loan Help Center.